MIAMI -- Ricky Nolasco gave Scott Olsen a ride to the ballpark on Monday afternoon, the friends and former teammates chatting and catching up.
They'll have plenty to talk about next time.Nolasco retired the final 13 batters he faced, spoiling Olsen's stellar return from the disabled list and helping the Florida Marlins stay perfect against the Washington Nationals with a 4-2 victory Monday night."It just feels good to have that feeling," said Nolasco (5-6), who won his third straight start by going eight innings and yielding four hits and two runs with eight strikeouts. "I'm just trying to be consistent. That's the main goal."Emilio Bonifacio drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth, Hanley Ramirez had three hits and tied a team record by getting an RBI in his eighth straight game, and the Marlins improved to 7-0 against Washington this season.Josh Willingham had two hits and Ryan Zimmerman hit his 13th homer for Washington. Making his first start since May 16 because of left shoulder tendinitis, Olsen allowed six hits and two runs in seven innings, striking out seven and throwing 66 of his 94 pitches for strikes."He gave us a tremendous outing," Washington manager Manny Acta said. "I couldn't ask for anything better."Pinch-hitter Wes Helms hit a leadoff double just inside the first-base bag off Ron Villone (3-5) in the eighth. After a sacrifice by Chris Coghlan, Bonifacio's fly ball to center scored pinch-runner Alejandro De Aza without a throw. The Marlins added an insurance run when Cody Ross drew a bases-loaded walk from Julian Tavarez.Leo Nunez got the final out for his third save in six chances, coming in after Dan Meyer gave up two singles. With runners on first and third, Nunez got Willingham to fly to center, ending the game."Good team victory," Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Nolasco gave us eight innings. ... The closer is whoever got the last out. I really don't think any of those two guys could care, as long as we get that last out and we're shaking hands and we get a win."In the third inning, Olsen yielded four hits and two runs within a five-batter span. After that stretch, he retired 12 consecutive Marlins, six by strikeout."It's a good sign," Olsen said. "I made some really bad pitches in the third inning, but we got on a roll after that."For as good as Olsen was, Nolasco was even better.He, too, had one rough early inning, allowing two runs and three hits in the second. But Nolasco was nearly unhittable from there, ending his 106-pitch night by striking out leadoff batter Willie Harris for the third time.Neither starter allowed a walk."We're obviously good friends and I just tried to keep it going," said Nolasco, the Marlins' opening day starter who was sent to Triple-A in May after a prolonged slide. "I let us down early in that second inning, giving up those two runs, but we did a good job executing with the bats today."Down 2-0 early, the Marlins tied it in the third on RBI hits by Coghlan and Ramirez. Olsen yielded two extra-base hits in the inning and both batters eventually scored: Brett Carroll led off with a double, and Bonifacio hit a stand-up triple off the wall in left-center.Zimmerman hit a first-pitch homer to lead off the second, and Willingham scored when Wil Nieves' infield chopper evaded Nolasco and second baseman Dan Uggla.
The start was pushed back 37 minutes by rain, the ninth home delay for Florida this season. ... Washington has lost nine consecutive series in Miami ... Olsen had a 94-pitch, 66-strike effort in his last outing against Philadelphia on May 16.